Alum Rebuilds Homes Damaged By Hurricane Sandy


Mackenzie Riley,’14, installs wood flooring in a Howard Beach home that was flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

Long after most of the volunteers to help victims of Hurricane Sandy have disappeared, Dominican College Alumna Mackenzie Riley, ’14, is working with AmeriCorps to finally finish rebuilding homes almost three years after the October 2012 storm.

Riley is now finishing up a 10-month term with AmeriCorps and is assigned to work with St. Bernard Project and Friends of Rockaway in Queens, NY. Since November, she has worked as a site supervisor in about 20 homes, overseeing volunteers and pitching in with demolition, framing, installing drywall, putting on trim, and painting.

Riley said many of the homes she is working on suffered damage from flooding inside, but don’t show any damage outside. “We take a lot of pride in our work and we want it to be nice for our homeowners because they’ve gone through so many issues since Sandy,” said Riley. “People have kind of forgotten that Rockaway and all these places were hit so hard because you can’t see the damage.”

Riley said it was at Dominican College that she first “fell in love with service” on an Alternative Spring Break Trip to Mississippi as a freshman. She later co-founded and served as President of the Dominican College Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.